Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest: Leaders back on track after Nelson double

Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Reiss Nelson scored two and assisted another as Arsenal returned to winning ways and moved back to the Premier League summit after a 5-0 rout of Nottingham Forest.

Mikel Arteta's side dominated at Emirates Stadium to regain their two-point lead over Manchester City, despite losing Bukayo Saka to injury after he assisted Gabriel Martinelli's first-half opener on Sunday.

Saka's replacement Nelson added a quickfire second-half brace before teeing up Thomas Partey for the fourth, with Martin Odegaard capping victory with a powerful finish after 78 minutes.

Victory saw Arsenal emphatically respond to a 1-1 draw at Southampton and Europa League defeat to PSV, while Steve Cooper's side remain bottom with two league games left before November's World Cup break.

Martinelli headed Arsenal into a fifth-minute lead after finding the bottom-right corner following Saka's curling cross, before Gabriel Jesus whipped narrowly wide three minutes later.

Renan Lodi cleared a Martinelli effort off the line as Arsenal dominated the first half that was somewhat marred by Saka's removal following what seemed to be an ankle injury.

Nelson powered home on the rebound four minutes into the second half following a Dean Henderson save and doubled his personal account after turning Jesus' low near-post cross into the bottom-left corner.

Partey added a fourth with a delightful curler into the top-right corner from Nelson's offload to the edge of the area, before Jesus teed up Odegaard to smash past Henderson and seal a dominant win.

What does it mean? Arsenal continue title charge

Arsenal failed to replicate a dominant first half at Southampton, squandering a one-goal lead after an underwhelming second-half showing that was somewhat a throwback to the Gunners' struggles in recent years.

But Arteta's side avoided following suit in their next league outing, picking up their eighth straight win against newly promoted sides – their longest such run in the competition since an eight-game streak between January 2013 and April 2014.

While tougher tasks will follow, with a trip to Chelsea next Sunday, Arsenal continue to keep pace with City.

Super Saka upstaged by Nelson

Only Cesc Fabregas and Wayne Rooney reached 20 Premier League assists when younger than Saka, aged 21 years and 55 days, but England may be concerned over the winger's fitness ahead of the World Cup.

Nelson proved a capable deputy on the right flank for Arsenal, though, scoring his third and fourth Premier League goals in the space of just over three minutes. His first and second such strikes were spread across two years and 107 days.

Lost Lingard 

Jesse Lingard may have fond memories of Emirates Stadium, labelling Arsenal's home ground as his "dance floor" after scoring in Manchester United's 3-1 FA Cup win in 2019.

But the midfielder failed to deliver on this outing in north London, managing the fewest touches of any outfield starter (14) and making just five passes before his 56th-minute removal.

Key Opta Facts:

- Arsenal recorded their biggest ever top-flight victory over Nottingham Forest, while the Gunners won by five-plus goals under Mikel Arteta in the Premier League for only the second time (also 5-0 vs Norwich in Dec 2021).
- The Gunners have won a Premier League home match by five-plus goals for the 19th time, with each of the previous 18 instances coming under Arsene Wenger.
- Nottingham Forest have conceded 28 goals in their 13 Premier League games this season – their highest total conceded at this stage of a league campaign since 1960-61 (31 goals conceded). 
- Since Arteta's first game in charge on Boxing Day 2019, players aged 21 or younger have scored 56 Premier League goals for Arsenal, 24 more than any other team in that time.

What's next?

Arsenal host Zurich in the Europa League on Thursday before the crunch London derby with Chelsea, while Forest are at home to Brentford on Saturday.